Toni Morrison On Focus in the Midst of Chaos

“The function, the very serious function of racism, is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being.” -Toni Morrison

Toni MorrisonOne of my mentors, Toni Blackmon (Free, posted this on Facebook just as I found myself stopping to read and respond to every post about Ferguson, MO and Michael Brown. With so many deaths being reported weekly, including Robin Williams, and then the death of a high school classmate, Monday morning I was feeling overwhelmed with work and purpose and my growing “to-do” list. But what I was reminded was that in the need to feel useful, sometimes the best thing we can do is accomplish our goals, finish what we started so that we can move on to the next meaningful step in our success, toward our dreams — fulfill our destiny.

What is destiny? If you are inclined to reach beyond a weekly paycheck, then you know that the burning desire inside is more than just about money or fame, it is about achieving something that will contribute to the greater good. And so, I was reminded that I am not the only being affected, that I, along with countless others, have created some of my best work during times of stress, oppression and grief. To deal with our own personal challenges, horrors, emergencies, families, circumstances in concert with the chaotic crescendo circling us can feel like insanity. But we have the power and ability to focus and choose. We can choose to ignore that which we cannot change, we can prioritize and contribute where we will be most effective. We can rise above the din and allow a peaceful energy, a productive energy, a positive energy abound.

We can set the tone for more than this. We can be more than tools reacting to a social injustice that goes far deeper than recent incidents, and we can go to the foundation, making far reaching change more possible.

That’s my soapbox for today. I just refuse to be angry and sad and depressed. Action will help keep us motivated and keep our Eyes on the Prize!  – Joy

Videos: What’s Being Done in Ferguson, What We Have to Say

Video: NAACP President Cornell Wm. Brooks in Ferguson